Face Masks Induced Contact Dermatitis Amongst Medical Personnel at the Clinic of Emergency Medicine and Patient Admission ’’Gaiļezers’’ in Riga, Latvia during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Pages – 26-28)

Demija Pleša1 and Elga Sidhoma2

1Faculty of Medicine, Rīga Stradiņš University, Riga, Latvia; 2Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Rīga Stradiņš University, Riga, Latvia


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Abstract: Personal protective equipment including face masks, is essential for the safety of health care workers. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the declaration of state quarantine, the medical staff of the Clinic of Emergency Medicine and Patient Admission “Gaiļezers’’ in Latvia were required to use personal protective equipment, including the use of a respirator.
Objectives: The aim of the study is to find out whether the use of respirators affects the condition of the facial skin and causes contact dermatitis to medical staff.
Materials and Methods: An anonymous questionnaire was used, which included 20 questions, and 53 medical professionals of the Clinic of Emergency Medicine and Patient Admission “Gaiļezers” (women (n=37), men (n=16) ) were surveyed. In the prospective part of the research – during the month of January 2021 (5.01.-31.01.2021.) one research participant filled out the questionnaire with four questions after each 24-hour shift in the hospital.
Results: In the study of 53 participants, in 72% of the cases respirators caused changes in facial skin condition. The most common region that was affected was the perioral area. The most common changes caused by respirator use were redness of the skin – 66.2% and itch of the face and neck skin – 56%. 76.9% of the surveyed medical staff observed itch and 33.3% of the participants assessed the itch as moderately intense. 50% of the respondents reported that changes were observed using an FFP3 respirator.
Conclusion: The use of a respirator can cause contact dermatitis to medical professionals after long-term use, which manifests as itchy skin of face and neck, redness of the skin and xerosis in most cases.

Keywords: Occupational dermatitis, face masks, COVID-19 pandemic, medical workers.
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